Melanic Soils [E]
Perhaps the most naturally fertile soils in New Zealand. They grow high quality pinot noir.
Melanic Soils have black or dark grey topsoils that are well structured. The subsoil either contains lime, or has a well-developed structure and is neutral or only slightly acid.
Melanic Soils occupy small areas scattered throughout New Zealand, in association with lime-rich rocks or dark (basic) volcanic rocks. They cover 1% of New Zealand.
Topsoil structure is usually stable. The soils shrink on drying and swell on wetting.
Natural fertility is high. Base saturation is high with high exchangeable calcium or magnesium. The clay fraction is usually dominated by swelling (smectite) clays.
These soils are biologically very active with high populations of soil organisms.
Soil orders are divided into soil groups based on variation in factors such as drainage status, parent material, chemical and physical properties